Making Apple Wine from fresh apples can be labor-intensive, but the end result has been more than rewarding.  Since Mother Nature messed with the production of apples on our apple tree this year, and my 5-on-1 apple tree is too young yet to produce very many apples, I was in a bit of a conundrum about how I was going to make this year’s apple wine with little or no apples.  So I bought Granny Smith apples.

I read that ‘tart’ apples make the best wine.  I decided I would start off with 20 pounds of apple and see how many gallons of wine that would convert to.  4 gallons is the final tally.Here’s the recipe I use as a ‘base’, then modify as I see fit throughout the process.  This recipe makes one gallon of apple wine:

16 cups
apples, cored and chopped
2 pounds
cinnamon stick (optional)
4 1/2 cups
granulated sugar
1 teaspoon
yeast nutrients
1 1/2
teaspoon acid blend
1/2 teaspoon
pectic enzyme
campden tablet
1 gallon
water, hot
1 package
wine yeast (for 1 to 5 gallons)
  1. Place fruit in primary fermentor. Pour boiling water over it, add the remaining ingredients except the yeast, stirring thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved. Let sit overnight (24 hours).
  2. 24 hours later sprinkle the yeast packet over the top of the contents in the bucket (aka the ‘must’), but don’t stir yet. Wait until the next day to stir thoroughly – stir daily for 5 to 6 days or until frothing ceases. Strain out fruit and squeeze as much juice out of it as you can. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
  3. For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.
  4. For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
  5. If wine is not clear, or still has quite a bit of sediment forming between rackings, Fine the wine as follows.
  6. Use wine finings or plain gelatin. Gelatin: use 1 teaspoon per 6 gallons of wine. Finings: 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons or as per package directions. Soak in 1/2 cup cold water for 1/2 hour. Bring to a boil to dissolve. Cool. Stir into wine. Let sit 10 to 14 days. Rack. If not clear enough yet, repeat process. DO NOT increase amount of gelatin or finings. The mixture will stay suspended in the wine, preventing it from ever clearing. Bottle once wine is clear.

The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.

Note: Make sure all the fermentation has stopped, or you’ll end up with corks that will randomly pop out of the bottles, making you think there’s something strange going on in your basement like I did. I ended up transferring that wine into champagne bottles, but have to say, the sparkling apple wine turned out to be the best batch yet!

Here we go… I washed all the apples and got ready to chop them up:

See that slicer/corer thingy?  Lifesaver!  While some recipes I’ve found say just to chop up the apples and not worry about the core, I like to make sure the core – and the seeds – are not in any of the fermenting process at all. 

Why?  Because you don’t eat the core or the seeds, do you?  And if you’ve ever accidentally bitten into the core of an apple, it’s bitter.  I don’t want my wine to end up with any bitter tastes, not even a little bit.

The slicer/corer eliminates the core in one step:

Then I can just chop them with the knife into similar-sized chunks:

I kept track of how many cups of apples were going into the sanitized bucket:

Helpful hint:  When pushing the apple slices through the apple slicer/corer thingy, be careful, because those little blades are sharp.  You might find yourself with a nice cut on your thumb that will need to be bandaged with Hello Kitty, as per Princess Nagger instructions:

Turns out that a five-pound bag of apples is equal to 32 cups of chopped apples.  Which means with the four bags of apples, I’ll get 4 gallons of wine (a bit less during the racking process, since we’ll lose some of the liquid when leaving sediment behind). 

Here we have 64 cups of chopped apples ready for the boiling water:

Live and learn.  An 8-gallon bucket will hold exactly to the brim 64 cups of chopped apples and 4 gallons of boiled water.  No room for the initial fermentation, so if you want to avoid a nasty mess, you’re going to need to think bigger. 

I was hunting down 8-gallon buckets last week and came up empty, so I found the next best thing at Lowe’s – a $5.00 10-gallon handle tub.  I sanitized it and it’s ready to go:

Much better:

Now there’s room for it to expand while it ferments.  I’ll be stirring this several times a day for the next 5-6 days to get the most out of the fermentation, as well as make sure the apple chunks release every last drop of their juice for the wine.

Of course it needs to be covered during this stage, but not air tight, so I covered it with a sanitized  dish towel:

I wanted to make sure the towel stays in place, so I needed to secure it somehow.  Since I don’t have any clothespins, I opted for paper clips instead:

Works like a charm!

Around midday today I’ll be adding the next important ingredients (updated to note that all of the ingredients pictured need to be added to the apples/water at the beginning, except the yeast – otherwise, your fermentation may not start):

Saturday or Sunday I’ll be straining the juice out of the fruit and transferring all the liquid into a carboy.  I picked up some fresh apple cider to ‘top off’ what I will need to top off after it’s all said and done to see if I can ultimately have the 5-gallon batch I want to have.

I just need to make sure the “less than .1% of potassium sorbate and or sodium benzoate to maintain freshness” won’t compromise the secondary fermentation if I add the cider to it – because those are ingredients you add to stop fermentation.  But I think since it’s less than .1% it should be safe.  We’ll see!  Next week you’ll get to see the next steps in the process.

Edited to add: The ‘less than .1% potassium sorbate’ didn’t stop fermentation at all – so no worries when you use that cider to top up.

This newest batch of Apple Wine is going to be fun for some experimenting I want to do.  I found a vague ‘Apple Pie Wine’ recipe online that I’m wanting to try – sounds delicious!  I’ll make one or two gallons of this batch into the Apple Pie Wine, and if the Spiced Apple Wine I’m currently making with last year’s apple harvest turns out excellent, I’ll do at least a gallon of that and the remainder will be the straight-up Apple Wine that has been turning out scrumptious.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Tempranillo is coming along nicely, as is the Wild Blueberry Blush.  I also discovered another wine kit that I had purchased in the Spring,  stashed in the basement and promptly forgot about it.  So I have another wine kit to start:

Bourgeron Blanc is also known as ‘White Burgundy’ – I’m curious to see how it turns out.  The description of it reads:

“A fantastic blend which compares in flavor profile to the great white wines of France’s Burgundy region.  Made from a select choice of California premium grapes, this is full-bodied wine with a robust flavor, accentuated by an aroma of fresh ripe peaches and apricots.”

In addition to that wine kit, I have another one that I just ordered (it arrived Friday):

I enjoy a good Shiraz, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this White Shiraz turns out.   Its description is:

“Complex layers of honeysuckle, strawberry, apricot, and tropical fruit. Smooth and round with notable strawberry flavor and a suggestion of tropical fruit. Serve lightly chilled as an aperitif or with light foods.”

I also started another double-batch of Kahlua on Sunday, which will be ready to bottle on Wednesday, and I picked up some Syrah wine to make wine jelly out of later in the week when the jelly jars I ordered arrive.  Grand Pooba is also starting the season off early – she ordered some of the Chocolate Covered Kahlua Cherries so I’ll be making a batch of those today, too.  It’s going to be a busy week for sure!

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  1. You are not supposed to give your secrets away!!!

    Don't worry, I would never make anything that would take a year to drink! LOL!

  2. I'm going to have to come to your house and taste test every wine you've made LOL

    When you put me back on the plane rip roaring drunk.. let them know how wonderful your wine is.. I doubt I'll be able to talk with my Wine Buzz. LOL

  3. You make it sound so easy!

    I have to know…what exactly is a Campden tablet? What does it do?

    xo, Mango

    p.s. I'm with Otin!

  4. Heh, they're not really 'secret' if they're plastered all over the internet, where I find my recipes… 😉 However, each batch of wine is subject to the special touch of the individual vintner… sort of like a chef. End results will vary – and for those just starting out, be careful that the first batch doesn't turn into vinegar like my very first batch did! 😉

    Mango – when are you going to attach your email so you're not a 'No-Reply'? 🙂

    Campden Tablets (potassium or sodium metabisulphite) are a sulphur-based product that is used to inhibit the growth of most wild yeasts – it's used to protect against wild yeast and bacteria without affecting flavor. In other words, you add it to the must or primary fermentation of fresh fruits to kill any lingering 'bad bacteria' on the fruit, as well as kill off the 'wild yeast' that would be present by way of the natural sugars in the fruit. That way you can control the fermentation process, and use wine yeast that makes for a much better finished wine.

    If you have high chlorine in your drinking water, you can use Campden Tablets to neutralize the chlorine, too – 1 tablet per 1-20 gallons takes care of that issue. 🙂

  5. Here's my quick and easy recipe for a gallon of wine:
    Get in the car.
    Go to the spirits store.
    Purchase a gallon of wine.
    The End.

    Yours was much more creative, but I just don't have the energy. Maybe you could do a post on where you get your boundless energy. Hugs. xo

  6. Wow, you inspire me. I need to get one of those corer things for this weekend. I have to make a huge apple crisp for beaver camp.

  7. I love those apple slicer thingys.

    And I'm going to post about your wine this week. Sorry, I've been in chaos mode from my sits day!

  8. Looks like all is well in wine production! Once, I let some cider go "hard".. I then froze it, making the first form of apple jack, as the alcohol didn't freeze… Tasted like lighter fluid, but sure could warm you up in seconds!

  9. Okay, I opened both the kahlua and the blackberry merlot this weekend.

    Oh. My. God.

    First the Kahlua? Are you kidding me? That stuff is dangerous! I absolutely love the cinnamon flavor with the coffee flavor, you've definately perfected that recipe! I could drink it like chocolate milk lol!

    And the blackberry merlot was delicious. It was so light and the blackberries with the merlot make it fruity, why would anyone want a plain merlot after that? I'm glad I ordered another bottle because I finished off the first one in one night! Was the blackberry merlot a kit wine?

    (So excited for those cherries!)

  10. Homemade wine…one thing I have yet to attempt. It looks great! And the band-Aid is pretty cool, too!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  11. That is absolutely amazing, I don't know how you do it and then on top of that you do a long post on it! How do you find the time?
    Sounds awesome.

  12. Sounds delicious! I've never thought about making my own wine. Hmmm, now I'm curious. Liked the photos too, helped picture the process a little more.

    Stopping in from Mom Bloggers Follow Me Club. I like your blog and look forward to reading more.

  13. I dunno, apple wine sounds pretty good, even for someone who doesn't drink wine. Every time you talk about your 5 in 1 tree, I think you're making it up.

    Your poor thumb. Are you SURE you got a boo boo and didn't just want to use the Hello Kitty band aid?

  14. Hey Stacy… Been so busy and terrible about commenting though I have been reading along.. LOVE the new design and the apple wine… OMG.. I must have some!

  15. I am so impressed that you make your own wine. I would love to try it sometime, but it intimidates me. It took me years to get up the nerve to try making jam and canning so I will probably need a few years more to work up the nerve to make wine.

  16. I need to buy some apples this weekend!! If I miss fresh apple season, I will be totally bummed. I missed strawberry season a little this spring. I have a freezer now!!!

  17. Woman, you are insane. Brilliant and talented, but insane nonetheless. I don't know how you have the patience for this!

    Hope Hello Kitty made your boo boo all better!

    Justine 😮 )

  18. Did I ever tell you that you're my hero? I just go to Dierburgs and by 6 bottles at a time so I can get a 10% discount…
    You ROCK!

  19. Oh, is the apple wine done already? Can we see the finish product? I really want to see it…! And I bet that wine is gonna be out of this world. 😀

  20. What I adore about blogs is which they spark an concept in my brain. When that happens, I feel as I need to comment with the hope it may be interesting to some people. Simply because you will find plenty of blogs and forums with many points of view, they question your comprehension. It is at these moments when you’ve valuable insignt other people might not have experienced, together with the blogger him/herself. I find myself coming back again to to your writings only simply because you have a number of really great insights and also you have been at this a really long time, that is really inspiring and tells me you understand your stuff. Maintain triggering imagination in others!

  21. I love you blog. I have been following your directions for the apple wine. After 6 days there are still strange gurgling sounds coming from my vat of apples. I assume that means it is still fermenting and not ready to transfer to the carboy…..or perhaps I am growing zombies.

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